migraine treatment

  1. A bad idea for migraines

    Botox, the infamous poison used by aging celebrities to freeze their smiles into place, is getting a second life -- this time as a migraine treatment.

    And I have no idea why.

    First, there are much better ways to get a grip on any migraine problem -- and I'll help get you started in a moment.

    Second, Botox hasn't been proven to work very well in the first place, and a new study proves it again. In fact, it's so unimpressive that I'll bet many of the people who get Botox for migraines don't notice a difference at all.

    In an analysis of 27 trials that compared Botox to placebo treatments and four trials that compared it to other migraine treatments, researchers found that patients who have an average of less than 15 headaches a month see absolutely no benefit from Botox at all.

    And for those who experience more than 15 headaches, there's a "benefit" of just two fewer headaches on average each month, according to the study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

    If you had 19 migraines one month and 17 the next, would you notice a difference? Of course not -- and getting that tiny "benefit" is no easy task. Botox for migraines involves up to 30 injections in your face every few months.

    There's a much easier way to get control of your headaches.

    Migraines are often triggered by something. It could be booze, food, or even a food additive. Aspartame, for example, is a common trigger -- and if you can find your own trigger, you can learn to avoid it 100 percent of the time.

    In addition, studies have shown that the European herbal extract butterbur can cut migraine frequency in half. That's not perfect, but it's a much better success rate than Botox -- at a fraction of the cost, and with none of the risk.

    Combine that with dietary changes, stress reduction techniques, and treating the internal problems such as neurotransmitter and hormone imbalances in the body that trigger migraines, and you have a safe, successful approach.

  2. Don't try to poison your migraines away

    Common sense doesn't always prevail, especially when it comes to drug approvals. So it was a breath of fresh air the other day to see health officials use a little of it when they rejected Botox as a potential treatment for migraines.

    They said there's just not enough evidence that this toxin -- famously used to straighten wrinkles and freeze smiles in place -- actually works when it comes to headaches.

    And they're absolutely right.

    But if you're thinking, "That sure doesn't sound like the FDA I know," you're absolutely right as well -- because it wasn't the FDA. It was the Brits.

    Good show!

    The FDA, of course, went full-speed ahead and actually approved Botox for migraines back in 2010 based on some of the weakest evidence I've ever seen -- including a study that found no actual reduction in the number of headaches per month.

    The Brits, on the other hand, haven't swallowed the same crazy pills as the FDA (not yet anyway). They've told the poison's maker that if they want to win approval for migraines, they'll have to come up with better evidence than what they've shown so far...and they'll have to do it by June.

    But even if that evidence magically appears in the next three months, Botox would still be a terrible idea for headaches.

    Botox is the snappy trademarked name for botulinum toxin, one of the most toxic proteins on the planet. The frightening list of potential side effects includes everything from flulike symptoms to paralysis.

    It's easy to see how even a single shot can go badly wrong. But if you turn to Botox for migraines, you don't get a single shot. You get 31 shots in a single treatment -- and you have to keep getting those treatments every 12 weeks.

    Do you really want to play the odds you won't suffer a Botox reaction 124 times a year?

    Me neither.

    Fortunately, you don't have to turn to Botox, antidepressants or any other repackaged mainstream migraine treatment -- because there are natural answers that can help chase the pain away starting tomorrow.

    And in some cases, you don't have to take a thing.

    Migraines are often triggered by something -- anything from a food sensitivity to an environmental allergy. If you can find that trigger, you can learn to avoid it.

    If you've tried that with no luck, try one of the natural treatments I've told you about over the years. And you can start by reading these free articles in my online archives:

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